Matt Smith reckons that Millwall boast their strongest squad since he arrived in SE16 – and now is is time for them to deliver in the Championship.
The targetman, 32, is heading into his third campaign with the Lions after signing a 12-month contract extension this summer.
And Smith, who has scored 58 goals in 255 appearances in England’s second tier, is optimistic about the future.
It is a little more than a fortnight before Millwall, who have twice finished eighth in their past four seasons in the Championship, kick off with a derby at QPR.
“I can’t speak too much for the other teams in the division because other squads are taking shape and it’s a bit strange with covid and the market,” Smith told the South London Press.
“But looking at ourselves, it’s the strongest team we’ve had in the three years I’ve been here. And it’s the season I’m going into most positive about.
“We’ve got a really good set of lads and we’ve had a couple of years to really gel. There is a brilliant team spirit, probably the best I’ve experienced, but also really good quality.
“It should make for an exciting season. It’s down to us now to produce.”
The Lions have made five signings in the window – Benik Afobe, Daniel Ballard, Scott Malone, George Saville and George Long.
Millwall have three friendlies left to to play. They cancelled Saturday’s fixture at AFC Bournemouth but have lined up different opposition closer to home.
After that comes a trip to Gillingham on Tuesday before another away match next Saturday at League One promotion favourites Ipswich Town.
Asked if he already had his starting line-up in mind to face the R’s, Rowett replied: “You have always got it in your head a little bit, because that’s how you build a team.
“You are looking at some areas where you feel you need to strengthen. And in order to strengthen those areas you need to know which areas you are quite happy with. So I’ve got a rough idea.
“What I have got this season is a much stronger squad. I have got a squad with much more options available to it and probably a lot of players similar in quality.
“I could probably look at three or four positions and there are two players battling it out that there is nothing between. That’s fabulous – exactly what you want.
“Pre-season is about players having the opportunity to perform and push their way into the team.
“We will probably start to look in the Gillingham game, and particularly Ipswich, as the ones that are a bit more towards the way the team might look [for QPR].”
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